I review studies of the roles played by cognitive skills and noncognitive traits and behaviors in stratification processes. Bowles & Gintis (1976) were among the first to argue that noncognitive traits and behaviors are more important than cognitive skills in determining schooling and employment outcomes. Now, 25 years later, these authors (Bowles & Gintis 2002) claim that the ensuing literature vindicates their position. There is much evidence for this claim, although it remains unresolved. I locate their discussion within the larger literature that has appeared during this time period. This literature provides an emerging interdisciplinary paradigm for the study of socioeconomic attainment, including differentials by social class, race, and ethnic background.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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